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Meeting the needs of the Millennials and Generation Z: gamification in tourism through geocaching

Skinner, Heather and Sarpong, D and White, G (2017) Meeting the needs of the Millennials and Generation Z: gamification in tourism through geocaching. Journal of Tourism Futures, 4 (1). pp. 93-104. ISSN 2055-5911 (In Press)

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Abstract

This paper presents a conceptual framework based on an understanding of the principles of popular mobile-enabled games, indicating how organisations in the tourism sector could meet the needs of Millennials and Generation Z through engaging with the existing gamified location based practice of geocaching as an ICT-enabled gamified enhancement to the destination experience. As a primarily conceptual paper, we take an inductive qualitative approach to theory building based on our understanding of an existing practice (geocaching) that is undertaken among a community of practitioners (geocachers), which results in our presentation of a conceptual framework, which is the theory itself that we have constructed from our understanding of what is going on and which principles can then be applied across other tourism practices. Findings indicate that through engaging with geocaching, smaller entrepreneurial businesses even in non-urban destinations that fall outside of the remit of smart city developments, and in tourism destinations on the less technologically enabled or resource-rich side of the digital divide, can reap the benefits associated with employing the principles and practices associated with smart tourism to meet the needs of this new generation of tourism consumers who seek richer digital and often gamified tourism experiences. This paper fills a gap in the literature regarding the way many different types of tourism destinations could meet the needs of Millennials and Generation Z tourists.

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